tv World News Al Jazeera December 24, 2015 10:00pm-10:31pm EST
else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight. >> chaos, carnage and urban warfare in the iraqi city of ramadi. we will bring you the latest on the iraqi army's dramatic advance against i.s.i.l. plus: christmas eve in the birth place of jesus. celebrations were mooulted as ms celebrations were marked by violence in the west bank. plus, healing the wounds of war,
rebuilding lives one note at a time. >> hello everybody, i'm david schuster in new york. we begin this hour with major progress in iraq's battle to reclaim an i.s.i.l. stronghold in the iraqi city of ramadi. the fall of ramadi last year was a major victory for i.s.i.l, but iraqi intelligence officials now say their forces with u.s. air support could regain control by the weekend. we have the latest now from al jazeera's gerald tan. >> as the days wear on, iraqi forces trying the retake ramadi have made a sobering admission it will take time. overpowering i.s.i.l. fighters who have been in control of the
city since may. ground forces are moving through city street by street towards the center. >> morale is high and god willing we will keep advancing to retake the whole of ramadi city. god willing we will liberate the remaining part of ramadi. >> iraqi intelligence say there are just a few hundred i.s.i.l. fighters left within the city parameters. they are proving a difficult foe. they have planted explosive devices, slowing down troops but it hasn't stopped them. >> following the liberation of the area, teams from the 16th division started to work to defuse the bombs, all the bombs have been defused. >> the iraqi government is confident that its security forces are in the final stages of this operation. >> there is well knit plan followed by the counterterrorism forces that have surprised
everyone. the plan is to encircle the areas and launch an attack from the center. i.s.i.l. has lost the balance of power as it doesn't know which side has been attacked with iraqi forces. >> ramadi is littered with rubble and shrapnel. up to 10,000 civilians are thought to be trapped inside the city. the hope is that victory will come swiftly and with no further loss of life. but both seem unlikely. gerald tan, al jazeera. >> syrian activists say at least 20 civilians were killed today east of damascus. there has been no confirmation yet as to who carried out the air strikes in hemarea. video shot on the ground shows volunteers working to evacuate civilians from burning buildings. a united nations backed deal is in the works that could allow
i.s.i.l. leaders and their families to leave overcrowded camp. conditions are deplorable and difficult to get humanitarian aid inside in part because of i.s.i.l.'s presence there. gabriel elizondo has the story. >> the united nations is involved in this deal in syria but backing away from reports that it is a u.n. brokered deal. this u.n. official told al jazeera quote, the u.n. is an observer to the deal concerning yarmouk but not a broker to it. the details of which are still very vague. potentially it could involve i.s.i.l. fighters given safe passage out of the yarmouk refugee camp and into the i.s.i.l. stronghold of raqqa. this should be important because the yarmouk refugee camp is a very dangerous place, ban
ki-moon has previously said, it's in the deepest circle of hell. there is i.s.i.l. and al qaeda el nusra front fighters and pro, and antigovernment militias, all fighting for territory within this sprawling refugee camp within the outskirts of damascus. caught in the middle of this there are about 18,000 refugees, innocent civilians there that the u.n. is not able to get any sort of aid into. so the thinking is if this deal can be brokered and some of these armed fighters especially the i.s.i.l. fighters are able to leave that will lou the u.n. to geallow thetown get in thereo the ones that need it the most. this is not a done deal but if it does get done it could happen as early as saturday.
gabriel elizondo reporting. major offensive by the taliban. nato just confirmed, taliban forces took control of the area earlier this week but the afghan army has dispatched more forces to the region. afghan officials are expressing confidence that the army's counterattack on the taliban will be successful. >> in moscow today the leaders of russia and india took significant steps to solidify their relationship. signed billions of dollars of defense and energy contracts. under the deals, russia will build more nuclear reactors in india and india will build more military helicopters. >> translator: our talks were very substantive and fruitful.
leading to a strategic partnership. >> always had great respect and appreciation for our strategy partnership. it has been a source of strength and success for india in success development and diplomacy. >> russia and india have shared close ties since the cold war, since russia was the main supplier of india's weapons. searching for the cause of a deadly fire. the saudi government says at least 25 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the blaze in jizon. flames ripped through the intensive care and neonatal department of the hospital. in the town of ariel a
palestinian stabbed an israeli security guard. in another, attacked with a screwdriver. the fourth palestinian was killed during an israeli army raid. soldiers say the palestinian fired at them from within a crowd of protesters. today's bloodshed overshadowed this year's christmas festivities. bethlehem always is bustling at this time of year was more subdued. imtiaz tyab reports. >> palestinians marching through the town of bethlehem playing christmas songs old and new. latin patriarch of jerusalem from his headquarters in occupied east jerusalem to bethlehem has him pass through israel's concrete separation
wall which encircles the city. israeli government began construction of the wall more than ten years ago. they say it is meant to stop violence, palestinians say it is no more than a land grab that has strangled tourism. still, thousands came to celebrate the birth of jesus christ along with christian pilgrims from around the world. >> it is a very important festivity because it is the birth of christ, the birth of hope, the birth of resilience. the birth of love. and so this is what people are celebrating. >> reporter: palestinian leaders scaled back christmas celebrations across the occupied west bank after months of violence that have left 20 israelis and more than 130 palestinians dead. bethlehem has seen most intense protests and after nearly 50 years of israeli occupation all they want is peace.
>> translator: today bethlehem lives in a state of sadness. people have been killed. lives under siege. settlements, a separation wall and daily killing killings of its sons. bethlehem is a city that carried the message of peace over 2,000 years ago, to a message of siege. >> still in the background of celebrations is more violent and more loss of life. despite the heavy crack down by israel's military the anger that has fueled months of violence only seems to be growing even on a day which celebrates hope and peace. imtiaz tyab al jazeera, bethlehem in the occupied west bank. >> in syria there was -- in syria there was a christmas celebration a few hours ago in damascus. this is just a mile from the jobar front line where syrian
troops are battling opposition fighters. hundreds gathered played trumpets for a tree lighting ceremony. christians make up about 11% of syria's population. in jakarta, indonesia, earlier this week police conducted a series ever raids and arrested three suspects accused of plotting christmas and new years attacks ton island of java a christmas parade was held in nazareth, the biblical home of the boy jesus. the city's square gathered for the christmas tree. other christmas celebrations being held around the globe. >> from the epicenter of the catholic faith the pope leads
the faithful through a midnight last, people around the world are celebrating christmas as well. in cuba there's an atmosphere of hope after the u.s. reestablished diplomatic relations with the communist nation after more than 40 years. it's making it easier for cuban americans to reconnect with cuba. >> it is absolutely changed 100% with everything. why? because people want to reunite with their family, to spend christmas with their friends, to get back to your roots and everything so people feel a little bit more together. >> christmas day falls a day after the prophet muhammed's birthday. aan estimated 200,000 iraqi christians have been displaced by the islamic state of iraq and the levant since last year. many of them live in camps
around baghdad. in the central african republic, businesses are struggling in a climate of instability. fighting among muslims and christians over the past three years have left the country with social and economic challenges. many government workers haven't been paid their salaries but that hasn't affected the christmas spirit. >> translator: in fact the town is lively, there is a lot of traffic and that means the celebrations will go well, people are determined to celebrate even if there's no money. >> people in france are asked to be vigilant as they go about their celebrations, after last month's multiple attacks that left 130 people dead. security is tight in the chinese capital too after the british and u.s. governments issued a warnings about possible threats to westerners on or around the christmas period. but that didn't stop hundreds of catholics from attending
christmas eve mass in this communist country. and in bethlehem thousands of worshipers gathered at the church of the nativity. led by the arch boich of archbif jerusalem. >> up next, the pope and the worshipers who came from around the world to hear his messages. plus, they all speak a common language, the language of music.
>> that's northern england, bracing for a very wet christmas. forcing hundreds of people from their homes. officials in the region have closed bridges. as you see they have placed sand bags in front of many houses, to prevent flooding. here is a look at what's happening in our american minute. ripped apart homes and tossed tractor trailers across seven states here. officials reported at least 24 twisters and 20 people killed.
threat is mostly over but heavy rain and flash flooding continue to cause problems. and charlotte, north carolina, police reportedly shot and killed a gunman at the northlake mall. witnesses say they heard several shots fired. off duty officers were already on the scene during an argument between two groups of people. the gunman opened fire shooting one person in the leg. the officers then targeted the gunman, at least two people suffered minor injuries when they were trampled by people fleeing the scene. and in chicago, protests erupted today with demonstrators calling for the resignation of rahm emanuel. remembrance of la quan mcdonald the 17-year-old was shot by police 16 times a year ago. the video was just released last
month. now to italy, where officials have rescued thousands of refugees from the mediterranean sea. this rescue came from a rescue off the coast of libya. tuesday and wednesday alone, italian ships rescued more than 800 refugees. many europeans help the refugees to rebuild their lives but one group of refugees do it for themselves. they are recording a cd to help others in their situation. lawrence lee went to one of their recording session he in brussels. >> a few days ago they hadn't even met yet these men from syria and iraq are singing and playing traditional songs from their home land in far off
brussels. this man on the border of macedonia where he told us he had to leave his loot behind when he fled diyalla in iraq. now he awaits an asylum hearing he uses his music to help forget the journey he has had to make. >> when i touch the instrument, there's a lot of just go away, forget a lot of things. even when you play and you remember things but in the end when you fisyou finish and musis everything for me. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> asad was a tv star in his home land baghdad, when he tried to set up a ftc music school in
his home the taliban told him to stop. >> most of them, they leave the country most of them they could not but they stop sing. they stop playing music. >> on guitar is basil, he made the journey through europe late this summer. he carried his guitar with him all the way singing for other refugees. >> now we play music what we feeling. what happened with us, how we live in damascus. that's all. >> the people helping organize close to their target of $13,000 to print the cds. music classes for refugees
children and concerts are also being planned. in a europe increasingly and openly hostile to all refugees it is perhaps a reminder of how war affects all of us even the most talented. >> nonot bad. >> lawrence marie, al jazeera, brussels. >> just ahead, not something we associate with christmas, but in mexico pinatas are as much a symbol as christmas trees.
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sounds like my ride's ready. don't get stuck on hold. reach an expert fast. comcast business. built for business. >> hallelujah. hallelujah. >> every seat was taken during pope francis's christmas eve mass tonight. he encouraged followers to live balanced lives, and compassion for others. he's scheduled to hold mass tomorrow in st. peter's square. in mexico, it's the busiest time for the making of pinatak,
very popular at christmas parties. natasha guinane has the story. >> if you are a pinata artisan, this is season of achy hands and ripped nails. but pride in knowing his creations are routinely copied, is what kept bernardo wrapping and glueing for 40 years. >> i like the colors of the pinatas, that you don't need a lot of money to make them, that this has given jobs to me and my family. >> he is also a dentist. he admits, the pinata trade isn't as lucrative as it used to be. now there is a lot of competition. christmas is the busiest time of year. he and his family will make 4 to 500 a month and will sell many
christmas stars. they represent the christmas star that led the wise men to bethlehem. this is called the kilometer of the pinatas, machines are changing what was strictly a hand made craft. machines are cutting the paper and making the bodies of the pinatas. >> i feel melancholy, because the tradition has come to an end. our ancestors have taught us for many generations. >> elena says, they are not only firmly rooted in catholicism, they are the extension of the person who made them. >> at the time of the year, people are always looking for traditional pinatas, that is difficult to finder when it is made by a machine.
although this is changing, the artisans are changing to know how to satisfy their customers. that is value we are promoting. >> but for kids, pinatas will remain a game that comes with a prize. >> i like the pinatas because i can hit them and eat the candy. >> reporter: not so for christmas. it is peanuts, oranges and guavas that come tumbling out of these pinatas, natasha guinane, al jazeera. >> now our global access, warnings after the city's public security bureau issued its highest alert. germany's courier wished all of its readers a merry christmas on its front page, whether children believe the holiday myths
parents tell them. and it's beginning to look a lot like christmas in the cayman islands. families across the area have packed their front lawns and even the street with decorations throughout grand cayman. that's a look at some of the christmas headlines from around the globe. new england isn't the only place that's experiencing an inordinately warm christmas. moscow, it looks like spring has sprung. flowers are blossoming because of the inordinately hot weather. a full moon will coincide with christmas day. nasa scientists say the best time to see the moon at its brightest will be just after six 6:00 in the morning. a full moon will not be visible again on christmas day until 2034. the last time there was a full moon on christmas, movie theaters were showing the original star wars movie.
george lucas, coincidence? hmm. that's it for international news and al jazeera america, i'm david schuster. we'll be back at 11:00 p.m. eastern for a look at the day's top stories. thanks for watching. >> on "america tonight": a good trip. from party drug to a way out of the darkness? >> i was very skeptical, i just thought it was ecstasy, this party drug and something that people take and get messed up but i was going down a very bad road and didn't feel i had anything to lose at that point. >> "america tonight's" christof putzel, the use of ecstasy, can it cure ptsd?